Friday, October 23, 2015

Pony Express update

I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with all the outstanding game projects I've got going on... between that and a week long trip to Essen (and playing a few of the games we brought back to evaluate), it's been a while since I've really made any progress on any of my designs.

A few weeks ago at RinCon I got a chance to play Pony Express again, implementing some of the updates I'd written down back in May. After that game (and a late night de-brief with a friend from California who came to town for the con), I made some notes for more changes, and today - spurred by the upcoming Sasquatch game convention in Seattle - I finally got around to updating the prototype. The changes of note include...

* During setup, put out all the terrain type hazard tiles (River, Mountain, and Lost!), along with all the tumbleweeds, then remove the tumbleweeds. So the terrain things will be in play from the beginning, which is most important for the Mountains, but also it just makes sense.

* I took the Express Deliveries out of the deck - they were causing too many problems. Instead of using them, I went back to 2 cards per town - which used to be the case, but I didn't like people auto-claiming a parcel if they already have one for that same location. I think with how the rest of the game has evolved, that might not be so bad anymore. This also means there's enough cards for  players again - maybe even 6!

* I made the Additional Delivery items specific - instead of drawing a card, you take the item into your inventory, it counts as a parcel you need to deliver, and it has a specific location to deliver it to. I believe I need to add 2 more items, so I might add 2 more of these ($5 ones to towns #6 and #7 perhaps).

* I'll try awarding a small cash bonus for arriving at the Post Office... 1/2 the End Game Bonus printed (so like $4/$3/$2/$1/$0 for arriving 1st/2nd/3rd/4th/5th) in rounds 1 & 2, and the full bonus for round 3 (since turn order isn't helpful anymore after round 3).

* I will try starting each town with one of the Map items in it, as well as one of the "I" items (rather than an "I" item and a random item).

* I clarified that $7 is the last chance players have to claim a parcel before the Auctioneer gets it for $10 (not $8). I'm hoping that makes the parcel choosing in the Auction phase more interesting.

I hope to give this game another try in Seattle next week.

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